Sports Column: Canadian Media Bad For Basketball

Posted on December 18, 2005 by

It seems, for whatever reason, that hockey will always be Canada’s dominant sport; as such, it demands a certain amount of attention from Canadian media outlets – which is something we non-hoser sports fans have come to accept. However, broadcasters, analysts, and sports writers alike can’t continue to overlook the other major sports; such as basketball.

Generally speaking, the basketball IQ of the Canadian media is terrible, at best. Their hockey-centric tunnel vision is compounded by the fact that this lack of knowledge doesn?t prevent them from sharing uninformed, ignorant opinions with their audiences about basketball.

Those in the know can discern a well-versed hoops-junkie from a hockey analyst who?s out of his element, but unfortunately fair-weather basketball fans are lured in to believing what these ?experts? have to say.

My solution? A modification of the old adage, ?if you don?t have anything informed to say, don?t say anything at all.?

Canadian television programs like Off The Record are problematic as, at some point, the guests must discuss things outside their Neanderthalic Ice Capades world. This is where the problems arise.

Case and point, a few days ago Rob Babcock, GM of the Raptors, was on Off The Record answering loaded questions posed by the host Michael Landsberg, while at the same time being berated by moronic small-talk that, in this context, passes for the majority of the show?s content.

Babcock kept his cool, toeing the company line and answering questions without even a hint of trepidation or anger towards the other guests. Commendable. He even got his own jabs in, most notably a funny dig towards Toronto sports writer and Raptor-hater extraordinaire, Dave Feschuk.

But why continue with the pattern? Surely someone must notice that in a show where basketball and Rob Babcock are the key topics, having more than one knowledgeable basketball mind is a good idea!

Zack Werner and Fred Patterson are the targets of this particular rant. They threw in some player names, some painfully obvious commentary — but nothing that went beyond the surface. Nothing that would lead any informed viewer to believe that these goons have watched more than one or two Raptors games this season (and that is me being nice; I?d be shocked if they have watched even one from start to finish). Yet there they were, arguing with Babcock, a man with more basketball knowledge than either could ever aspire to have; taunting him, telling him to his face that his team sucks, the Vince Carter trade was bad, he?s not handling the roster properly, his drafting is suspect, etc etc.

All of that might be accurate, but who are they to say? Where could they have possibly obtained this knowledge if they don?t follow the team regularly? The answer: from other uninformed sports analysts too busy listening to themselves talk to understand the damage they are doing to basketball in Canada.

This is not to say things are always rosy in Canadian basketball. Usually it?s far from. But I urge the Canadian media to leave the curling to the curlers, leave the hockey to the hosers and, for the love of God, leave the basketball to the ballers. Canada has enough intelligent basketball minds to discuss, analyze and critique the game – we don?t need help from you sub-zero saps.

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